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New York System Hot Dog
Rhode Island hot dogs, known as weenies, never frankfurters, are smothered with fine-grind beef sauce that is moderately spicy and maybe a little sweet. Yellow mustard, chopped raw onions and a shot of celery salt complete the picture. The “system” element of the name means they are made in a systematic way by lining up multiple dogs in buns and dressing them assembly-line style. Old-time counter men can array a few dozen Little Rhodies from wrist to shoulder, adding sauce and condiments with lightning speed. Hence the common local description of New York system dining: wieners up the arm. Curiously, there is nothing like them in New York. (In New York City, that is. The Michigan of Plattsburgh, New York, is similar.) The logical explanation, which has yet to be proven in fact, is that nearly all of the Ocean State’s wiener depots, which are remarkably similar, were opened by cooks who once had worked at America’s frankfurter mothership, Nathan’s of Coney Island. Application of the term New York System is ambiguous: it can be the style of preparation and service, the weenies themselves, or the name of the restaurant. E.g.: Olneyville N.Y. System restaurant of Providence serves New York System wieners using the New York System to prepare them.